Over Labor Day weekend, I traveled to Ohio, about twenty minutes north of Columbus on Alum Creek Reservoir, a 3,330-acre lake in Delaware, Ohio. At its deepest, the lake is 60 feet. We spent the morning fishing for largemouth, smallmouth, muskie, and saugeye.
I took the Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual Beam Transducer, which is great to use on a bass boat and for kayak fishing. The Striker Plus 4 for was recommended for the type of small lake fishing we were doing. I was skeptical at first since the Striker Plus 4 fishfinder does not have any loaded base maps, but, after I got a chance to see the unit in action, I can see why it’s his choice.
Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual Beam Transducer Technology
The Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual Beam Transducer uses traditional Compressed High-Intensity Radiated Pulse (CHIRP) technology, which is fantastic for fishfinding because it displays two-dimensional sonar images in clear detail and with much more accuracy than standard sonar. The way that it works is that the unit fires bursts at different frequencies (kHz).
Different underwater objects reflect different frequencies, so emitting a variety of frequencies allows the CHIRP unit to clearly image fish, structure, and cover with outstanding clarity and target separation in both shallow and deep water. The CHIRP 77/200kHz technology has a depth capability of 1900 feet and makes the bottom contours more visible than previous models, even when the boat moves at higher speeds.
The Garmin Striker Plus 4 has integrated GPS which allows you to mark up to 5000 waypoints and monitor your trolling speed to ensure that you can return to the best spots and keep track of important data. My buddy used it to mark docks and ramps as well as good fishing spots, making it easier to find them as he became familiar with the reservoir.
Additionally, the unit comes with Garmin Quickdraw™ Contours mapping software, which allows you to create HD fishing maps as you explore new lakes or new parts of the same lakes. Quickdraw™ is incredibly user-friendly. All you have to do is fish, and the software will take care of the rest. The results appear instantly on your screen, and you can store up to two million acres of Quickdraw™ maps with one-foot contours on your device. You can also label points of interest (POIs) on your maps: navaids (navigational aids), docks, good weed beds, etc. The maps are your own, to share or keep to yourself.
Garmin Striker Plus 4 with Dual Beam TransducerUsability and Design
The Garmin Striker Plus 4 is easy to use, customizable, portable, sturdy, and easy to install, making it perfect for a variety of fishing environments. The large 4.3” display with 272×480 pixel resolution is readable in all weather conditions. Even in bright sunlight, the display is clearly visible and gives you accurate easy to see information about what is underneath your boat.
The user interface is pretty intuitive, and the unit is customizable. The interface is simple, with Previous Screen, Menu, Cursor, Power, Message, Waypoint, and Zoom buttons. The buttons are well-spaced and large enough for those of us with big fingers to use.
The device allows you to customize which information displays on your screen. You can choose from among a variety of data to display, such as the unit’s voltage, boat speed, water temperature, water depth, etc. You can also adjust the backlighting to suit your own needs. Speaking as someone with bad eyesight, I prefer devices that are highly backlit. There is also a nighttime and daytime setting built into the unit.
You also can choose from a variety of views. You can display the traditional view, the waypoint map, the waypoint map plus the fishfinder, the split frequency map, or the flasher view. All split-screen views are customizable as well, allowing you to determine which view you would like on which side of the screen. The flasher view is a unique feature on The Garmin Striker Plus 4, which is not available in most fishfinders in this price range. It is good for ice fishing, anchored fishing, or vertical jigging,
The unit is portable and easy to install. The Garmin Striker Plus 4 comes with a gimbal tilt/swivel mount bracket, which my buddy had mounted in his bass boat. This device detaches easily from the mount because the mount binds the cable together, holding them in place. He regularly transfers the unit between the bass boat and the mount that is on his kayak. He also said that it took almost no time to install the transducer, wires, and mount. He showed me the instructions, which were clear and easy to follow.
Finally, the Garmin Striker Plus 4 is sturdy. It is made of durable military-grade material, allowing it to stand up to all weather conditions and to be transported from boat to boat.
The Dual Beam Transducer is one of the most important features on the Garmin Striker Plus 4. The clarity of the CHIRP sonar images that the transducer produces is unrivaled in a fishfinding unit in this price range. It provides a clear view of the fish without a lot of interference. It also provides a clear view of the bottom and covers with distinct separation of objects.
The GPS is highly sensitive and allows for real-time information. The Quickdraw™ mapping software also makes this an ideal device for fishermen who have to be time conscious. My buddy took us immediately to the spots that he had marked, and we were pulling in the bass, crappie, and muskie in no time.
PROS and CONS
Many reviewers disparage the Striker series because it lacks base maps and an SD card slot that would allow you to load maps. However, for small lakes or used in combination with a unit that does display maps, like the echoMAP™ series, the Garmin Striker Plus 4 is an excellent product, especially for the price. If you are looking for a portable, durable, easily usable fishfinder for well under $200, then the Garmin Striker Plus 4 is a good option for you.